Students at the Cellar Gym start Martial arts for all different reasons. Sean Flynn, an Uptown Minneapolis bartender and musician, didn’t find his way to martial arts for fun, fitness, or competition — on his first day, he walked into class looking for peace of mind. Sean describes himself as an intellectual & a ‘nerd,’ and he had always been intrigued by the discipline and mental aspects of martial arts. His first exposure to the world of martial arts came while he was living in Europe with his father, who was in the military. K1 kickboxing was extremely popular on European TV at the time, and Sean loved watching the fights and studying the fighters’ techniques.
In 2010, Sean attended the South Africa World Cup with his friends. While out at a restaurant, Sean and five of his friends were attacked by a crowd of an opposing team’s fans. Sean ended up in the hospital for six days with a broken nose, a fractured eye socket, and a titanium plate in his skull. The pain wasn’t the worst part for Sean. The worst part was how angry and vulnerable he felt at his inability to protect himself, even though there was no possible way he could have ever fought off so many people.
Sean returned to the United States in 2011 and decided that he would never anything like that happen to him again. He sought martial arts instruction from a family friend and started to develop his striking with traditional styles like karate and Tang Soo Do. A few years later, Sean sought a more comprehensive martial arts training and walked into The Cellar Gym with the intent of learning a kickboxing style similar to the fights he used to watch on TV. Instead, he fell in love with Muay Thai and quickly became a force to be reckoned with.
One day in sparring, Sean hit his partner with a perfectly timed kick to the body. Although he’d certainly never intended to hurt his friend, he suddenly realized that he had developed enough skill to defend himself against an attacker if he had to. “It felt good knowing that I was capable of that because I’ve always been a little bit doubtful of my abilities. So having that confirmation felt good,” Sean says.
Sean says he’s thinking about competing, especially with the encouragement from his coaches. But for him, Muay Thai is about building confidence. He is always working on being a better version of himself than he was the day before, and his biggest focus is on improving his mental game. Training at the Cellar has taught him work ethic and improved his relationships, his work life, and his fitness level. Although he hopes to fight someday, the greatest benefit he’s gained at the Cellar is the ability to defend himself, and an invaluable peace of mind.
What is your reason for starting martial arts? We would love to hear your story!! (Like seriously, we love hearing our member’s stories! If you’d like to share, shoot us a message)!